User:Magic Master/Magic Master's Views on the U.S. Presidents

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Since a few RationalWiki users have been doing this with their opinions on United States Presidents, I thought I'd join in and do the same thing.

George Washington[edit]

Served: 1789–1797

  • The good things:
    • A strong leader who helped guide the newly-founded country.
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: The first United States president, and he was a great one.

John Adams[edit]

Served: 1797–1801

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Thomas Jefferson[edit]

Served: 1801–1809

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
    • Was racist and a slave owner.
  • Overall:

James Madison[edit]

Served: 1809–1817

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

James Monroe[edit]

Served: 1817–1825

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

John Quincy Adams[edit]

Served: 1825–1829

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Andrew Jackson[edit]

Served: 1829–1837

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
    • He was responsible for the Trail of Tears.
    • Led an anti-Native American sentiment.
  • Overall: A racist jackass who did a lot of harm to the country.

Martin Van Buren[edit]

Served: 1837–1841

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

William Henry Harrison[edit]

Served: 1841

  • The good things: None.
  • The bad things: None.
  • Overall: He was the only president who died after serving a month in office. I can't give a conclusive overall opinion due to that.

John Tyler[edit]

Served: 1841–1845

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

James K. Polk[edit]

Served: 1845–1849

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Zachary Taylor[edit]

Served: 1849–1850

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Millard Fillmore[edit]

Served: 1850–1853

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Franklin Pierce[edit]

Served: 1853–1857

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

James Buchanan[edit]

Served: 1857–1861

  • The good things: Nothing.
  • The bad things:
    • Hastened the divide the country had faced at the time.
    • Did nothing to prevent the Civil War from happening.
  • Overall: A lot of people said he was the worst president ever, and I'm willing to say that Andrew Johnson was worse.

Abraham Lincoln[edit]

Served: 1861–1865

  • The good things:
    • Led the Union to victory in the Civil War.
    • Signed to end slavery in the United States.
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: A great president who, despite his views would be considered racist today, got to end slavery and help the Union win the Civil War.

Andrew Johnson[edit]

Served: 1865–1869

  • The good things: Nothing.
  • The bad things:
    • Was the first (and only) United States President to be impeached. It was unsuccessful.
  • Overall: Andrew Johnson was one of the worst U.S. Presidents that we've had, if not the worst.

Ulysses S. Grant[edit]

Served: 1869–1877

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: Great U.S. general who was a not-so-great U.S. president.

Rutherford B. Hayes[edit]

Served: 1877–1881

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

James A. Garfield[edit]

Served: 1881

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Chester A. Arthur[edit]

Served: 1881–1885

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Grover Cleveland[edit]

Served: 1885–1889; 1893-1897

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Benjamin Harrison[edit]

Served: 1889–1893

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

William McKinley[edit]

Served: 1897–1901

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall:

Theodore Roosevelt[edit]

Served: 1901–1909

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
    • His foreign policy was too aggressive.
  • Overall:

William H. Taft[edit]

Served: 1909–1913

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: Not a memorable president. Thankfully, he wasn't as bad as the next president, who was...

Woodrow Wilson[edit]

Served: 1913–1921

  • The good things:
    • Allowed women to vote. However, see the bad things about him to show his real views on women.
    • Stopped child labor.
  • The bad things:
    • Was a huge racist and a white supremacist.
    • Extremely authoritarian and he restricted freedom of speech.
    • Segregated black workers and military personnel.
    • Did nothing to stop the Ku Klux Klan's presence, which was rampant during the time as president.
    • He had a really bad case of gunboat diplomacy with his "Bad Neighbor" (what a meaningful name) foreign policy.
    • Was a misogynist and against the Women's Suffrage movement.
    • Invaded Central American countries several times during his first term.
    • He was a massive warmonger who invaded several countries. He believed in an imperialist foreign policy, despite him supposedly being against imperialism.
    • Forced the U.S. into World War I to "make the world safe." It sure did - it indirectly resulted in a certain Austrian dictator becoming the leader of Germany in 1933, requiring another World War.
    • Signed an action that jailed anti-war activists who were protesting U.S.' involvement during World War I.
    • Wilson was responsible for the prototype of the pre-McCarthy Red Scare by going after socialists.
    • Stoked the flames of racial boundaries, resulting in race riots in several cities around the country during his presidency.
    • Eugene V. Debs was jailed for speaking out against World War I.
    • The debacle that was the League of Nations, and how ineffective it was in preventing wars. Even if the U.S. joined it, it would not have done anything.
    • Commemorated the Confederate memorials during his presidency.
    • Signed the Daylight Savings and Selective Service Acts.
    • Covered up the 1918-20 Spanish flu that he ended up getting.
    • Started a bloody occupation in Haiti that led to the deaths of civilians.
  • Overall: Wilson was a terrible president who gets too much credit by historians who overlook his heinous actions as president. I consider him the worst President of the 20th century, if not one of the worst we've had.

Warren G. Harding[edit]

Served: 1921–1923

  • The good things:
    • He, at the very least, undid some of the damage Woodrow Wilson did.
    • Pardoning Eugene V. Debs was also good to see.
  • The bad things:
    • His staff was corrupt and he didn't do anything about them.
      • Such corruption was prevalent during the Teapot Dome scandal.
  • Overall: A President who, despite his good intentions, was largely overshadowed by his corrupt staff.

Calvin Coolidge[edit]

Served: 1923–1929

  • The good things:
  • Overall: Not a good U.S. President.

Herbert Hoover[edit]

Served: 1929–1933

  • The good things:
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: Hoover is incorrectly blamed for being the cause of the Great Depression because he was President when it happened. Coolidge should get the blame for letting it happen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt[edit]

Served: 1933–1945

  • The good things:
    • Got us out of the Great Depression.
    • Created several positions in the government that remain to this day.
    • After Pearl Harbor, he did get us in World War II to help combat authoritarianism and totalitarianism that was rampant in the world during the time.
    • His speech about entering World War II.
    • Great foreign policy.
  • The bad things:
    • Placed Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans in concentration camps because they looked like the enemy.
  • Overall: A great president who helped us during the time of World War II.

Harry S. Truman[edit]

Served: 1945–1953

  • The good things:
    • Had helped get the U.S. Democratic Party to fix the racial divide caused by Woodrow Wilson 30 years prior.
    • Truman had helped end World War II.
    • Oversaw the foundation of the United Nations after the failure that was the League of Nations.
    • Created NATO.
    • Good domestic policy, along with foreign policy.
  • The bad things:
    • His handling of the Korean War. His approval rating considerably dipped as a result.
  • Overall: Although dropping the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains controversial on whether it was excessive or not, he did do quite a bit of good things as President.

Dwight D. Eisenhower[edit]

Served: 1953–1961

  • The good things:
    • Ended the Korean War.
    • Creating NASA.
  • The bad things:
    • Operation Wetback.
    • Questionable moves during his presidency.
  • Overall: A strong leader who served in the United States military.

John F. Kennedy[edit]

Served: 1961–1963

  • The good things:
    • Worked on improving Civil Rights, which his successor signed into action several years after his assassination.
    • Prevented a war with Cuba.
  • The bad things:
    • His Bay of Pigs invasion that did not succeed.
  • Overall: As someone pointed out, nobody realized the accomplishments that he made until after he was assassinated.

Lyndon B. Johnson[edit]

Served: 1963–1969

  • The good things:
    • Superb domestic policy.
    • Signing the Civil Rights act.
  • The bad things:
    • Was a closeted racist and sexist.
    • Accelerated tensions between the U.S. and North Vietnam that locked the U.S. into the Vietnam War.
  • Overall: While he was great with domestic policy, the same cannot be said about his foreign policy and how it escalated the Vietnam War.

Richard M. Nixon[edit]

Served: 1969–1974

  • The good things:
    • Wanted to improve relations with U.S. and China.
    • Created the EPA.
  • The bad things:
    • Was extremely corrupt.
    • Started the draconian War on Drugs, which hit minority communities very hard.
    • Watergate. That is all.
    • Had Henry Kissinger as his Secretary of State, who was responsible for multiple war crimes in southeast Asia and South America.
    • Was a homophobe, racist and an anti-Semite. He didn't view Catholics very kindly either.
  • Overall: The only United States president to resign after a scandal. He was, contrary on what he claimed, a crook.

Gerald Ford[edit]

Served: 1974–1977

  • The good things:
    • After the chaos from the previous presidency, it was a return to normalcy.
    • Did not intervene in another country during his presidency.
  • The bad things:
    • Pardoned Nixon.
    • Did not punish Henry Kissinger.
  • Overall: Another average president. He didn't really do that much besides pardoning Nixon.

Jimmy Carter[edit]

Served: 1977–1981

  • The good things:
    • Did a lot of good after serving as U.S. President.
  • The bad things:
  • Overall: While he was an average president, he did a lot of good things after leaving of office.

Ronald Reagan[edit]

Served: 1981–1989

  • The good things:
    • Served as President during the fall of the Berlin Wall.
    • Ended the conflict in Iran.
  • The bad things:
    • Accelerated the War on Drugs that Nixon started.
    • The whole Iran-Contra controversy that occurred in his second term.
    • He had Jeane Kirkpatrick on his Chief of Staff. Her foreign policy missteps in Nicaragua and El Salvador were immediately felt throughout the world.
    • Appointed Antonin Scalia to the United States Supreme Court.
    • He was an HIV/AIDS denialist.
    • Deteriorated race relations in the United States.
    • Reaganomics.
  • Overall: Not the greatest President we had, contrary to what conservatives think.

George H.W. Bush[edit]

Served: 1989–1993

  • The good things:
    • Got Saddam Hussein to give up Kuwait.
    • He knew that Reaganomics were ineffective.
  • The bad things:
    • He claimed that there would be no new taxes, but he raised taxes anyway.
    • Appointed Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court.
  • Overall: Average president. He fared much better than his son ever did.

Bill Clinton[edit]

Served: 1993–2001

  • The good things:
    • Appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court.
    • Was at least wanting to improve healthcare in the United States.
    • Agreeing on removing Slobodan Milošević from power after Milošević committed crimes against humanity.
  • The bad things:
    • Repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, setting the stage for the Great Recession in 2008 a decade later.
    • Much like the past few Presidents, he continued the War on Drugs.
    • Signed the 1994 Crime Bill, which caused prison numbers to explode, especially African-American people and other minorities.
    • Was a sexist, and he cheated on his wife with a White House intern.
    • Questionable foreign policy decisions. Rwanda and bombing a plant in Africa were some examples of them.
    • Signed don't ask, don't tell, Defense of Marriage Act, the Telecommunications Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
    • Inadvertently gave North Korea nuclear weapons.
    • Not acting on the Kenyan embassy bombing that Osama bin Laden carried out.
    • Signed the Welfare Bill in 1996, which greatly increased the number of people living in poverty instead of lowering it.
    • Started the Third Way neoliberal policies that would cause the Democratic Party to shift rightward on the Overton WindowWikipedia.
    • Was the President when NAFTA was enacted.
  • Overall: Clinton was a very overrated president with almost no legacy to speak of. Time has also not been kind to his presidency. He appointed Ginsburg to the Supreme Court and that was it.

George W. Bush[edit]

Served: 2001–2009

  • The good things:
    • Did charities for HIV/AIDS advocacy in Africa.
    • He actually stopped listening to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.
    • He implemented the Do-Not-Call Registry.
  • The bad things:
    • Started the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, starting the unfortunate trend of the U.S. being overly involved in the Middle East.
      • The infamy and aftermath of the Iraq War remains visible to this day. The aftermath of the war was single-handedly responsible for the rise of the Islamic State.
    • Had a very corrupt staff that was constantly in the news for their actions. Such as Dick Cheney accidentally shooting someone on a hunting trip.
    • His handling of Hurricane Katrina, or lack thereof.
    • Appointed Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.
    • Caused the debt ceiling to explode with excessive and careless military spending as a result of the above wars.
    • Troubling domestic policy.
    • Signed Every No Child Left Behind.
    • Hid the facts about Pat Tillman's death in the Iraq War.
    • Indirectly got North Korea to restart their nuclear program, from the deal that Bill Clinton made.
    • Dismissal of U.S. attorneys.
    • Created the PATRIOT Act, Homeland Security, TSA, ICE, all in one fell swoop.
    • His indifference to the U.S. military committing crimes against humanity in Iraq and the Middle East.
    • Started drone strikes on combatants, killing innocent civilians in the process.
    • Had many skewed priorities as president, such as for example, reading a children's book the day 9/11 happened, instead of immediately heading to Washington D.C. when the first attack happened.
    • Horrible foreign policy. Think Woodrow Wilson's infamous "Bad Neighbor" policy, except on steroids.
    • Was a climate change denier, and started the trend of Republicans being climate change deniers. He also killed the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse gases.
    • He also never got Osama bin Laden.
    • Approved anti-Muslim television specials that played a major role in Muslims defecting from the Republican Party in favor of the Democratic Party.
    • His economic policies led to the Great Recession in 2007-08. Add the repealing of Glass-Steagall under the previous administration and you have the Great Recession.
    • Was anti-LGBT and did everything he could to quash gay marriage. One of his main tenants for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election was campaigning against gay marriage.
  • Overall: One of the worst presidents that we've had. His mistakes that he made still haunt him and this country to this day.

Barack Obama[edit]

Served: 2009–2017

  • The good things:
    • Was president when gay marriage was legal in the United States.
    • Good domestic policy.
    • Stimulus Bills that saved the U.S. from the damage that the Bush administration did in late 2008 that prevented another Great Depression.
    • Wanting to help undo the damage that every president from Nixon to Clinton did with the War on Drugs by pardoning non-violent drug dealers.
    • Appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.
    • Added LGBTQ protections to employers.
    • Ended No Child Left Behind.
    • Was understanding on wanting to help the country's allies.
    • Signing the Iran nuclear deal.
    • Wanted to improve the U.S. Healthcare system.
    • Was the President when Osama bin Laden was killed.
    • Repealed the controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell and Defense of Marriage Act.
  • The bad things:
    • He bailed out Wall Street instead of others who were living in poverty or suffering at the time of the recession.
      • Obama didn't sanction the banks and punish the people who were responsible for the Great Recession.
    • He continued with the drone strikes that the Bush administration started and intensified them.
    • Not a good foreign policy president. He made several foreign policy missteps that can still be felt today.
    • He was unable to end the war in Afghanistan, and started wars in Libya and Syria that caused a refugee crisis in the latter country.
    • He was also involved in the Yemen insurgency, which carried over to the next presidency.
    • The whole Chelsea Manning controversy that could've been avoided in the first place.
    • Helped with a military coup in Honduras in 2009 that led to disarray inside the country and contributed to a migrant crisis several years later.
  • Overall: A good president. He could have been a better president, if it weren't for the drone strikes during his policy and the foreign policy missteps.

Donald Trump[edit]

Served: 2017–2021

  • The good things:
    • Pulled us out of NAFTA.
    • Stopped the idea of intervention in Venezuela because he realized it would be an awful idea.
    • Good market growth.
    • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of DAESH was killed during his presidency.
  • The bad things: (it's a long list)
    • Much like W. Bush, he's a climate change denier.
    • His reaction to ICE agents leaving immigrant children in cages and in unkempt environments.
    • Pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
    • Ordered air strikes in Syria from 2017 and 2018 without government permission or oversight.
    • He was indifferent to Hurricane Maria.
    • The whole wall debacle that should have never happened in the first place.
    • His poor dieting and fashion sense.
    • Pulled out of the Iran deal, which while controversial, was not the right idea.
    • He is not very intelligent. I don't think he understands the consequences of his own actions.
    • He routinely makes a complete idiot out of himself on Twitter and other social media.
    • Rolled back LGBTQ protection from employers through executive orders, very likely under the request of Pence.
    • His whole military parade idea.
    • He teats NATO and U.N. allies like garbage to the point where it could cause permanent damage to the U.S.' ties with those countries.
    • Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, also causing considerable unrest in Israel with Palestinians.
    • His Vice President is just as bad as he is, if not worse. Pence being responsible for rolling back LGBT rights that Obama had signed, no transgender in the military, etc. He is an authoritarian fundamentalist Christian who has nefarious intentions of wanting to build a theocracy. It would take just about an entire page on why his vice president is just as bad as he is, if not worse.
    • He comes up with some awful ideas that he doesn't realize would be a terrible idea.
    • His handling of the census and citizenship on the 2020 census.
    • He may end up leading Honduras and the U.S. cutting diplomatic ties with each other over the migrant crisis.
    • Weak domestic policy.
    • He was indifferent to the Unite the Right rally and didn't condemn the far-right extremists for their rhetoric.
    • Questionable appointments to the Supreme Court. Here they are:
    • His constant arguing with politicians (namely, Nancy Pelosi, Adam SchiffWikipedia and Chuck Schumer, who aren't exactly saints themselves) makes it difficult for people to support him.
    • He almost caused war with Iran because of the assassination of their top general.
    • Was the third president to be impeached, but it was unsuccessful.
    • Indifference and complete denial of the Coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, how he handled himself after he tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Worsened race relations to the point of a possible new nadir. Just his rhetoric during the George Floyd protests kindled the flame and caused race relations to plummet nearly instantly.
    • Way too friendly towards authoritarian regimes in the world. (for example: Saudi Arabia, Russia, North Korea, Likud Israel, etc.)
    • He lies on a constant basis. I'm not going to list all of his lies.
    • Endorsed multiple conspiracy theories, including the infamous QAnon conspiracy theory.
    • Him and Pence enabled authoritarianism to levels never seen before in the United States' history.
    • Caused a coup in the United States as a result of Democrats taking the Senate and the Electoral College.
    • I'm going to run out of things to list the bad things that he did at this rate.
  • Overall: Much like Woodrow Wilson above, the worst president we've had of that century is out of the way early!

Joe Biden[edit]

Incumbent: 2021-present

  • The good things:
    • Undid some of the damage that Trump did.
    • Got the US back into the Paris Climate Agreement and the WHO.
  • The bad things:
    • Yet another U.S. President who got involved in the Middle East, after originally saying he wasn't going to.
    • Walked back on allowing deportations after he initially said that there'd be a freeze on deportations.

Overall: Time will tell how the 46th President will fare. Hopefully, he will be a better President than what the previous President was.